Germany have two wins out of two games in their campaign to qualify for Euro 2020. After disastrous performances at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2018-19 UEFA Nations League, Germany needed to turn things around, and it looks like they’re starting to find their way there.
Manuel Neuer played like his old self
Manuel Neuer had to make one great save against Belarus. That was it. There was only one moment when Neuer was called upon to be great in the match. This is what life is like as a starting goalkeeper on a major team. You are rarely called upon, but when you are, you better make that save.
Neuer made the save.
Injuries and a subsequent lack-of-confidence due to those injuries have plagued Neuer over the last couple of seasons. If Bayern and Germany are to be the teams that we know they can be, a lot of that starts at the back with Neuer. Confidence is key. If he plays confident all the time, he’ll remain on top.
Also, how about that moment in the first half when Neuer ran down the defender to the corner on the long ball over the top, took the ball from him, dribbled away from him, and passed it away to safety? It was completely unnecessary and, if it failed, could’ve been calamitous, but boy it was fun to watch.
Leroy Sane was unlucky not to get three goals
The Bayern Munich target was really good on the day. His goal was a great cut in on his left foot with a curling shot that hit the back of the net. If luck had been on his side, he would’ve had a hat trick.
However, Sane was only as good as he was thanks to the performance of Marco Reus and Serge Gnabry. The ability of the three players to weave in and out across the top confused the Belarus defense, allowing Germany to exploit this getting regularly chances.
Sane’s clear second best opportunity of the day was a terrific header that just missed the back of the net, hitting the far post and bouncing clear of the net. An inch the other direction, and that ball is in the back of the net.
He’s such a talented player, and you can see why Bayern are high on signing him this summer.
It’s worth it to keep trying the three man backline
Today’s lineup featured Matthias Ginter, Niklas Sule, and Jonathan Tah in a three man backline with Ginter on the right and Tah on the left. With Belarus being mostly inept in attack for the majority of the match, this allowed Nico Schulz and Lukas Klostermann to spend the majority of their time in the midfield and beyond.
For Schulz, it allowed him to regularly bomb up the left flank, letting Leroy Sane cut inside more often. Schulz put in dangerous cross after dangerous cross, and Germany were unlucky not to put more balls in the back of the net.
For Klostermann, he was deployed in kind of a right wingback / defensive midfield role that’s becoming slightly more popular. Basically, since Germany spent the majority of the match in possession, Klostermann swept up across the midfield, allowing Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan to push up far more than Belarus would have liked.
Ginter, Sule, and Tah weren’t challenged very often on the night, but they were up to the challenge whenever Belarus tried to attack. Neuer was rarely called upon all night long, and that was mostly due to the great defense in front of him.